Meaningful integration of eportfolios in distance education.

I have asked one of my students to create a video, reflecting on her eportfolio.

Based on Vicki’s reflection on her eportfolio, eportfolios are high impact educational practices. In July 2016, eportfolios were added as an 11th high impact practice recognised by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. However, not all eportfolios can be regarded as high-impact practices. I have developed the following learning-oriented framework for integrating eportfolios in a post-graduation module in distance education (see Figure).


The framework is described in two recently published papers, namely:

van Staden, C.J. 2016. ‘n Leergeoriënteerde raamwerk vir eportefeuljeontwikkeling in afstandonderwys. Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie, 35(1), online version.

Van Staden, C.J. 2016. A learning-oriented framework for integrating eportfolios in a post-graduate module in distance education. AAEEBL ePortfolio Review, volume 1(1), pp. 36-52.

ePortfolios in ODeL settings

During my year at Unisa as post-doctoral fellow, I was asked to assist with one of the post-graduate modules until a new lecturer could be appointed since the previous lecturer passed away. This temporarily arrangement took up 10 months of the year.
During that time, I was responsible for the 2014 group, who wrote formal examinations, and the implementation of eportfolios (2015 cohort).

I have designed a Learning-oriented approach to integrate eportfolios into the curriculum and guided the students through the first five months of the year. The new lecturer took over end of May 2015. I believed it would be a mammoth task in distance education, therefore I created various extra learning opportunities.

I did not complete the journey formally, but informally I have acted as mentor for the students who contacted me for assistance and guidance until final submission. After graduation, one student shared her eportfolios with me and it was heart warming to see how the framework guided her towards compiling an eportfolio that can be regarded as a high impact practice. So, I have asked her to make a video-clip taking us through with her while she reflects on her eportfolio. In the email she wrote:

I hope it doesn’t sound boastful, but I feel proud of my portfolio. Last year, I was a bit tired of everything by the end. But after looking at it with fresh eyes, I can see that I came a long way. My first assignments were a lot weaker than the improved versions. I don’t think about old essays as much once they’re done, but with the eportfolio I reflect, revise, and improve at every step.

After watching the video, I realised that this amazing learning journey need to be shared. That open distance higher education can take a leading role in higher education if our graduates can walk away like this student. No examination can do justice to the learning that happened while she compiled her eportfolio. I love her closing remarks.

Interactive images – a new way of teaching content

Tired of trying to discuss an image? Then you should try the new tools that can be used to create interactive images.

FLDraw ($99)

You can draw floor plans as well, with interactive images, text to display sizes, etc.

iiCreator ($139)

Add markers, labels, draw lines, create editable regions, image map legends.

Thinglink ($20/month)

Create beautiful infographics, expensive. Free version does not offer much.

Visme (from $15 p/month.)

(Free version, only 3 images.


The free version offers all features and it can be downloaded. It also offers a non-profit version for